You may be wondering why I’m ringing in the New Year with the Flintstones, a television show that had its original run in the early to mid sixties, one of a handful of Hanna and Barbera productions that entertained me during my childhood years sometime during the mid 70's. So let me explain.
Kerryl was watching television late at night a few weeks ago when she stumbled upon the cartoon series while I was asleep and urged me to watch them with her. We started recording the episodes and have been enjoying them together, at our leisure. Only 22 minutes long when you skip the commercials, they are easy to watch, moving at a fast clip.
When I ask Kerryl why she likes the show she says, “Because it makes me feel happy. It uplifts me.” Then I hear, “Have a Yabba Dabba Doo Time, Have a Gay Old Time,” coming from her melodious voice.
Kerryl, who lost her brother Kenny last year, said the laughter, in part, helps her feel relief from his loss. We’ve been together for over 8 years, successfully struggling to maintain it through the ups, downs and trials that come with the territory. Watching a show like this also helps bring us closer, as we identify with some of the themes that resonate in our own relationship.
Like Fred Flintstone, I tend to dream a bigger life; Kerryl reminds me about making sure to put the bread on the table and take care of the daily responsibilities. The show was loosely based on the Honeymooners and its characters Ralph and Alice Kramden; Ed and Trixie Norton. Why do we identify with them? Because they yearn for a better life reflecting our own personal aspirations and dreams amidst struggles with everyday reality.
Moreover, I see Fred Flintstone as an archetype of ‘the good husband,’ particularly in his capacity to respect and submit to his other half. It’s my penchant to say ‘no’ when I could say ‘yes, dear’ that’s part of my everyday challenge. “Yes, dear, I’ll fetch the fire wood. Yes, dear I’ll make the sales calls earlier so we can get some sun together, later. Yes, dear I’ll pick up the Christmas cookies, rub your back and do all of the other myriad things that are requested of me….”
In his capacity to say ‘yes, dear,’ I see how it works charms on Wilma, smoothing over the rough edges of marital life while bringing happy closure to each episode.
Fred Flintstone’s desire to please his wife helps me to understand the unwritten laws of how to please a woman when I’ve strayed into territories of my own selfish design, tempted to criticize rather than to praise, tempted to fight rather than to love, tempted to do my own thing rather than include my other half. If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, this show sheds light on the divide between the sexes, bringing us closer to celebrate our differences.
When I’ve gotten my fill of laughs and turned off the TV, I contemplate the value of being in a relationship. That we can sit and watch a show of her choice (or mine), that we can mumble ‘Yabba Dabba Do’ in the most mundane or intimate of scenarios, that we can laugh at our marital tugs of war over conflicting interests, that’s all well and said, but what’s paramount is the necessary communication to sustain our relationship and feed our love through honest and respectful dialogue.
Although I would think life today is more complicated than it was in bedrock, the Flintstones impart lessons that speak a universal language from which we, in the 21st century, can benefit. From there, not only do I get inspiration, but I also earn kudos, for in her eyes, I become a hero once again.
For me, that’s a good place to begin the New Year, by striving to win the affection of my love.